? - 04.11.06

Bess was a black hooded.

Bess and her sister Frankie came along as another couple of rescues referred to me from the RSPCA.

Both had been much loved by their previous owner but it turned out her husband was allergic to them and she could no longer keep them.
As soon as I saw Bess, I could see her belly was swollen. I quickly discounted pregnancy as when I felt her stomach, I could feel a hard mass in it. The vet told me it was a mass on her liver, and there was nothing that could be done about it. Bess was also noticably smaller than Frankie and very skinny. Although she was fed well, all her energy went into growing the mass rather than building her up. She was still the size of a rat half her age.

The vet told me to let her live out her days and to bring her back to him when she began to feel miserable. Bess surprised us all as she continued to be an active, happy little rat for a long time, despite the fact that the mass kept getting bigger. However, one week, she began to show signs of slowing down. She was normally the first girl to come to the bars to see me, but she began to remain in her igloo. She'd always loved her food but one day refused to eat. Although purely physically she had looked bad for a while, she had never acted in any way unhappy up to then. It was always my wish that she would never know pain, and that she would be euthanised before she got to the stage where she was suffering. With Bess, there was never any hope of her getting better, which should have made the decision to euthanise her easier than usual. But she was such a perky, bright little girl, and so eager to please, that I was never sure how she really felt, and how much she was hiding any discomfort. But when she refused food, it was fairly clear this was the sign of her no longer being happy.

Bess was an exceptional little rat, and always so merry and outgoing despite her condition.

Why Bess? Bess is the only rescue rat I've had who kept the name she had when she came to me. I usually like to change them as I feel a new start deserves a new name. But as Bess's future was so uncertain from day one, I wasn't concerned with changing her name.

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